BY BRENNA MATENDERE KWEKWE residents have given the local authority a 10-day ultimatum to swear in five councillors from the Nelson Chamisa-led Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party who won in the March 26 by-elections.
The residents, led by pro-democracy activist Nkosilathi Emmanuel Moyo, have threatened to stage peaceful protests at Kwekwe Civic Centre until the councillors are sworn in.
Kwekwe, the home town of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is the only city that has not yet sworn in councillors from the by-elections.
The CCC councillors due for swearing in are former mayor Angelino Kasipo (ward 10), Makomborero Mlambo (ward 8), Zamani Ngwenya (ward 9) Washington Moyo (ward 12) and Melody Chingarande (ward 5).
“The Constitution is very clear under section 277(3) and section 48(3) of the Urban Councils Act. Our councillors were supposed to be sworn in within nine days. So we are left with no other option other than taking to the streets or approaching the courts,” Moyo said.
“Kwekwe City Council is depriving us of our right to equal representation in local governance. Why has it taken one month for them to swear in our councillors?”
Settlement Chikwinya, the Mbizo MP (CCC) who returned to Parliament following the March by-elections, said there was no excuse for not swearing in the councillors.
“Residents braved the adverse weather on polling day to elect their representatives at local level, but a single person has just decided to put on hold that constitutional duty. This simply reminds the residents that we need a total change of governance including officers in the bureaucracy,” said Chikwinya whose last stint in Parliament was under the MDC Alliance stable.
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“As things stand, tower lights are not working, there has been no water supply in most parts of Mbizo due to consistent water bursts, garbage is not being collected and all these issues are not finding their way to council management because there is no link between representatives and council management.”
Sources at Kwekwe Civic Centre claimed acting town clerk Lucia Mkandla was to blame for stalling the swearing in ceremony.
But Mkandla shot down the accusations when contacted for comment, and promised that the swearing in ceremony would be held “very soon”.
“We had not received the letter from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) concerning the new councillors. Our swearing in ceremony will be held soon,” she said.
Zec chief elections officer for Kwekwe, Assan Mkwananzi, did not respond to questions on whether the electoral body had dragged its feet in officially informing the Kwekwe city council regarding elected councillors.
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